Princess Diana certainly benefitted from her marriage to Prince Charles. It’s how she came to be the mother of her two beloved sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. She lived in opulence and had the time and money to devote to causes near and dear to her heart.
Diana also lost a great deal, however: her privacy (her struggle with bulimia may be the most famous eating disorder in history), her pride (her dashing prince was in love with, and notoriously carrying on an extramarital affair with, Camilla Parker Bowles), and her dignity (her heartbreak and her own extramarital affairs were all publicized in the news).
But it was only when the marriage of Princess Di and Prince Charles was officially dissolved on July 15, 1996, that the losses truly began to add up. Diana was awarded the lump sum of £17 million (the equivalent of $26 million) and an annual stipend of £400,000 ($625,000), reports Tina Brown, author of The Diana Chronicles. According to Brown, as well as the New York Times’ 1996 coverage of the divorce, here is all that Diana lost:
While married to Prince Charles, Diana was known as Her Royal Highness. The title separates the royal family from the rest of British nobility. The loss of the title meant that Diana would have to curtsey to those with the title, including her ex-husband, her ex-in-laws, and even her own sons.
Although Queen Elizabeth II had been willing to allow Diana to retain the title, Prince Charles insisted she give it up. According to Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, the then-14-year-old Prince William comforted Diana by promising to give her the title back one day when he became king. But for the rest of Diana’s life (precisely one year and three days), she was known as Diana, Princess of Wales. Here are more fascinating facts you never knew about Princess Diana.
Her travel budget
Members of the royal family are given a huge travel budget and options to stay in expensive and exclusive locations, but many of those perks ended for Diana after the divorce. Among other limitations, Diana’s foreign trips, unless they were private holidays, were required to be signed off on by the Foreign Office and the Queen.
Mike Forster/Daily Mail/REX/Shutterstock
With the divorce, Diana had to give up her office at St. James’s Palace (it was next to Prince Charles’s office). However, she was able to maintain an office at Kensington Palace.
Much of her staff
Diana’s staff at Kensington Palace was reduced to three: cleaner, cook, and dresser. That’s how Burrell the butler came to take on such a significant role in her life, combining the roles of personal assistant, driver, delivery service, confidant, and “crying towel,” as Brown notes.
During her marriage, Diana’s personal safety was of paramount importance. Post-divorce, Diana was able to use police protection only when she attended a public event.
The 100 or so charities Diana supported during her marriage were reduced to six after her divorce. She continued to support these causes diligently throughout the remainder of her life, and perhaps most notably in the final 12 weeks of her life.
The pressures of the divorce led to a rift between Diana and Gianni Versace over Versace’s coffee-table book, Rock and Royalty, in which Diana is credited as a coauthor. That division led to one between Diana and Elton John, also a coauthor (although they reconnected following Versace’s murder).
The love of her life
In the fall of 1995, Diana fell for Pakistani heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan. She adored him so much that she considered leaving the U.K. to live with him in Pakistan. But that relationship ended in the year following the divorce, in part a casualty of the relentless public interest in Diana’s private life. Don’t miss these 9 other secrets about Princess Di no one knew until after her death.
Her emotional stability
In the months before she died, Diana felt an encroaching sense that she was being spied upon. She had her rooms at Kensington Palace swept for bugs; she also feared that she would be murdered, most likely by a staged vehicular crash. Diana even saw her own guards as potential assailants.
Princess Diana was a tragic figure. Big-hearted and beautiful, she died in precisely the way she seemed to fear most, leaving behind her dear sons and still broken-hearted over the end of her relationship with Dr. Khan. Take a moment to reminisce about her happier times with these stunning and rarely seen photos of Princess Diana.